When tragedy strikes the Abbott family, they move to the countryside to make a fresh start. Henry is trying to find a way to come to terms with the loss of her brother, her mother being very poorly and her father going away to work in Europe. She takes solace and strength from her worries and loneliness in her favourite fairytales. As Dr Hardy meddles more and more with her family, Henry’s worries deepen to the point that she must take action. With courage from her brother, wisdom from her fairytales, and help from the secret in Nightingale Wood, Henry sets out to bring her family back together so they can heal.
Covering the treatment of mental illness at the end of WW1, the hardship and shell-shock faced by the men who served in our armed forces, and the devastation grief and loss can cause, we watch Henry walk a fine line between living in reality and the fairytales she loves. With nods to many of the books I read as a child, this book transported me back to my 12 year old self, when I would hide with a book in my favourite tree to escape to different worlds.
“Mama was quiet for a moment and then she said, ‘What a wonderful place the world would be, Hen, if everyone had your imagination.” Great stories do provide escape and friendship, and The Secret of Nightingale Wood does just that. I didn’t just love this book, I felt it deep within me. A stunning debut that is as much of a joy for adults to read as it is for the children it was published for.
Great for fans of Library of Lemons, There May Be A Castle and many childhood classics such as The Secret Garden, The Railway Children & Winnie the Pooh.